An 11-year-old boy credits Michael B. Jordan’s ‘Black Panther’ villain Eric Killmonger and Jesus himself for helping him recover after he was impaled through the head with a meat skewer.
In September, Xavier Cunningham was playing in a treehouse outside of his home in Harrisonville, Missouri, when he was suddenly attacked by a swarm of wasps. As he tried to escape the insects, Xavier fell 4 feet from a ladder and onto a foot-long meat skewer that sliced through the front of his face and right through to the back of his skull, according to the Kansas City Star.
With the skewer inside of him, Xavier was taken to the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City where doctors were shocked to find that the metal tool had missed vital parts such as the boy’s nerves or brain stem. At the time, Koji Ebersole, a director at the University of Kansas Health System, called it a “one in a million” occurrence.
“I have not seen anything passed to that depth in a situation that was survivable, let alone one where we think the recovery will be near complete if not complete,” Ebersole told the Star.
Xavier made it through an hours-long surgery to remove the object and was released a few days later, and when he was asked later that month how he knew not to try to remove the skewer on his own, Xavier referenced the fate of the villain in the popular Marvel movie, Black Panther, as the reason why.
In the climactic final battle of the 2018 Marvel film, Michael B. Jordan‘s Erik Killmonger is stabbed through the chest with a dagger by the protagonist, King T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman. After sharing an emotional final moment together, Killmonger removes the dagger from his chest and dies.
“I watched Black Panther,” Xavier told CBN News. “At the end of it, how he just takes it out and dies — so I was like, ‘Nope!’ “
Black Panther is the highest-grossing film of 2018 and made history as the first comic book film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and at the 2019 Academy Awards on Sunday, the film took home the awards for Costume Design, Production Design and Best Original Musical Score.
Yet, Xavier didn’t give Black Panther all the credit, as he told CBN that his faith also helped in his recovery.
“[Jesus] gave his life for us,” he told the outlet. “And after this, it’s just like He really truly is the God almighty.”
His parents were also thankful for the “miracle” that kept things from being much worse for their son.
“He could’ve bled to death in that field, covered in yellow jackets,” Xavier’s father told FOX 4 in September. “Only God could have directed things to happen in a way that would save him like this… it really was a miracle.”